As the Lightning Strikes
It was a dark and stormy night, scratch that; it was a dark and stormy dawn. The sun was supposed to rise over an hour ago and yet they were still shrouded in perpetual black of night. Thunder boomed and crackled in sync with the spider webs of outstretching fingers of lightning permeating the pitch sky with its temporary bursts of light. Through a steam condensed window that Wil had just wiped clean with his white sleeve, he could see the rain pound mercilessly on the pavement and bounce up at least half a foot with each flash of the lightning. The dank smell crowed upon the little log cabin that was situated deep in a lush evergreen forest, odours of pine, earth, and fresh acidic rain was seeping through the window panes and down the empty, old, and dusty chimney.
“They should be here by now” he muttered under his breath as he took another swipe at the window in case he may have missed the single headlight that would be able to shine through the blanket of rain from Seth’s motorcycle that just may have pulled up the road while he took the second to express his thoughts out loud.
Quincy studied his raven haired friend, who was staring out of the misted window, with scrutiny, noticing the fine lines in his brow being drawn together to form a shallow cleft, and his lips pulled into a tight line. His body language although appearing to be relaxed and taking pleasure from watching the intense storm outside the window, his face told a completely different story. Quincy had to fight with himself to keep his impulses to bombard Wil with well placed psycho babble at bay when he knew for a fact the worrisome youth could handle himself in his concern for his fellow cadet-pilots. He young blonde tentatively took a few paces closer to the brooding youth who was standing in front of the foggy old window. “They probably stopped for shelter along the way. You know how Dave doesn’t like to ride in the rain.”
“Perhaps.” Wil folded his arms tightly over his chest, feigned a shiver, and turned away from the window. “The dampness is making me chilly. I’ll go stoke the fire.” He rubbed his goose-bumpless flesh and tossed a few perfectly chopped logs into the barren fireplace. Tom crumpled up pages of the three day old newspaper he was reading and threw each page in between the logs and kindle. Within minutes a roaring was crackling in the small brick, soot-laden fireplace. The flames rose high into the dark recesses of the chimney and emitted comforting waves of heat into the damp morning drenched air in the medium sized cabin that shook under the weight of each thunderous boom that shattered the sky nearly every minute.
A long peaceful silence fell between the boys as they settled themselves in front of the gentle blaze, the soft scent of burning wood caught in their noses and simultaneously the three drew in a large collective breath and inhaled the deep woodsy smell that served only to remind them of how foreign and inexperienced they were when it came to primal survival in the great outdoors. They weren’t exactly new to spending days out in the wilderness, however being on military bases in massive cities that sprawled out for thousands of kilometres didn’t give them any advantage when it came to coping with instantaneous climate changes in the most severe extremes. Will, having a slight advantage over the others, let his chin fall against his collarbone. He had no doubts that Dave and Seth could handle themselves alone in the wilderness under normal circumstances, however the stormy weather outside showed no signs of lifting and all radio signals have been lost due to the low lying clouds and thick pea soup fog. He was afraid to think of where they were; travelling along a rural road submerged in deep forest. If the wheels slipped at a slight degree with enough speed, the motorcycle could go careening into a rock cut, trees, or over an embankment (guard rail or not). The severely injured bodies of his comrades would be left unattended or even found before the storm broke at the very least. Thousands of life threatening scenarios ran through his mind as he had to keep a constant thought in his head that they were all well informed that their lives were expendable at any given time. ‘They’re not supposed to die like this. A car accident is not a soldier’s death’.
“What time did they leave last night?” Tom asked impassively as if it were simple conversation. He had been keeping a keen eye on Wil and had also noticed the worrisome and tense expression painted on his sharp, edgy features. The brunette’s green eyes reflected some of the anxiety for a moment, and then settled on the ever so calm and vigilant look that Quincy seemed to always have. It was a small comfort given their helpless situation.
“They phoned just as the storm came in last night.” Quincy looked at his watch like it were a connection to Seth and Dave’s lifeline. “That was over eight hours ago.”
“The trip is only three hours long to drive doing the speed limit, and if Dave drives; two hours.” Wil’s voice quivered slightly as he mentioned the pilot’s name, he had always felt a little over protective of the young American yet never seemed to have any reason for being so. Perhaps it was something instinctual on a physical level as he had tried to sort it out logically.
He let his onyx eyes wander to Tom and Quincy who were stretched out in front of the fire, legs laid out in front of them and supporting themselves up by the elbows as they watched the fire rise and fall with the air pressure in the chimney. The corner of his lips bent upward in an affectionate smile. ‘They’re safe.’, he thought to himself as the dim light of the room was contrasted into a large shadow that raked over his body from Tom and Quincy’s bodies as he lay sprawled out on an old rickety sofa; he smiled sadly and peered over his shoulder at the window.
As the minutes slowly dripped by, he found himself reminiscing the times when he had developed an affection to his fellow pilots. Each had their own special area that he found infinitely appealing and strangely he felt drawn to them by each of their traits that he had grown to respect. Seth, his ability to face every challenge with equal precision and drive to accomplish his goal it didn’t matter how trivial the task. Dave, the way he can smile when faced with adversity and never take anything too seriously or too lightly. Tom, how he could do everything with so much passion yet make it seem like it was effortless. Quincy, the way he keeps everyone together…